SOME 11 years after making her senior debut Omagh footballer Hayley O’Donnell has at long last got her hands on major silverware!
The week before last Linfield Ladies claimed the Danske Bank Women’s Premiership for a fourth consecutive season by pipping Sion Swifts Ladies on goal difference after defeating Derry City 10-0 in their final game.
That sparked scenes of unbridled joy and celebrations and in this week’s Ulster Herald Boot Room O’Donnell, who signed for the Blues in the summer, reflected on what had been a whirlwind three months.
“I have played in the Premier League for 11 years and had never won a trophy. For me that long wait is now over,” she said.
“Our girls had won the league in the last three years and in winning a fourth title they have shown why they are champions.
“Compared to everyone in the group I have come to the party late. I wouldn’t consider me a true blue yet but hopefully I can look forward to a more consistent season next year.”
O’Donnell, who has been capped by Northern Ireland, had played with a number of clubs in the past decade including Mid Ulster Ladies, Crusaders and Sion Swifts.
This season Swifts went toe-to-toe with the champions and in the end the Blues secured league glory on a better goal difference of just four.
That in itself was a little controversial in that Sion Swifts had completed their games in the penultimate round of fixtures, which left Linfield going into heir final game against the Candystripes knowing exactly what was needed to do to finish top of the pile.
O’Donnell sympathised with those involved with her former club but insisted that everyone was aware of the fixture schedule from the start and that no one could have predicted the title race would come down to goal difference.
“I know Tommy (Canning) and Tony (McGinley) and the girls will be hurting to lose in this manner,” she continued.
“I do feel for Sion, I played for them as well. They have a lot of good players and the staff are very committed to them.
“It was unfortunate but that’s the way it went this season. The fixtures were laid out before everyone at the start of the season. Every team had their week off , it just happened that on the final week that team was Sion.”
FULL STORY IN TODAY’S ULSTER HERALD AND YOU CAN LISTEN TO HAYLEY TALKING TO TOMMY AND PADDY ON THE BOOT ROOM PODCAST